I’m really baffled by this:
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson has reaffirmed street photography rights at a Metropolitan Police Authority Committee meeting last week, but was unable to guarantee that all police officers would interpret the law in the right way.
Sir Paul, are you perhaps implying that all police officers are congenital idiots? Or that they are wilfully stupid?
Just how difficult can it possibly be to tell all police officers that taking photographs is a perfectly legal activity?
I am happy to offer Sir Paul some free advice that I can guarantee will be effective in addressing the apparent stupidity and or intransigence of his force: the next time someone makes a complaint about a policeman harassing an innocent photographer, sack the policeman in question. Repeat as necessary. I can assure you it will not be necessary to do this more than once or twice.
But I suspect the truth of the matter is that the problem, as ever, resides at the top of the tree. The head of the Metropolitan Police Force is reluctant to enforce a fairly straightforward rule because Sir Paul himself doesn’t think that people should be able to take photos (or videos) willy-nilly, lest they capture something embarrassing. This is the only conclusion I can come to about Sir Paul’s reluctance to guarantee that police officers interpret the law in the right way.
And I’m afraid there is little that the average photographer can do about that.